Ecuador: Clandestine clinics still prevalent to “cure homosexuality”

Posted on May 24, 2017 • Filed under: Crime, Ecuador, Latin America Health, Social Issues / Paola Paredes – It was four years ago that I first learned about the private ‘clinics’ that claim to cure homosexuality in Ecuador. My first thought was that it could be me held there and told that, as a gay woman, I needed to change. Two years later, I came out to my family and was accepted by them. In my country, many young women and men are not so fortunate.

I discovered that around 200 clandestine centers still operate in the gaps between progressive laws and conservative beliefs. In Ecuador 80% of the population is Catholic and the church in general has very conservative values, so homosexuality is still something that is frowned upon. Until 1997, same-sex relationships and romantic activity were illegal and punishable by four to eight years in prison in Ecuador. In 2011 several cases appeared of centres offering to “cure” homosexuality, with dozens of cases coming to light: ‘ At that time it was estimated that two hundred such facilities were in operation. Many parents and families still believe that homosexuality is an addiction; a sexual disorder that they believe that can be “cured” by some harsh discipline.

The first few private rehabilitation centres emerged in the country beginning in the 1970s, several decades before any regulatory body existed to oversee them. The method of treatment in these clinics is an “until you change” mentality. For many years, the brutality of these practices has gone unpunished. Some of the most extreme of these practices include: the use of restraints, tranquilizers, beatings, withholding of food, and other forms of humiliating treatment. Most patients are kidnapped and drugged against their will by their own family.


Unfortunately, the majority of these centres remain open because they are disguised as Treatment facilities for alcoholics and drug addicts . While some of the individuals do fall into those categories, there is an alarming and growing number of gay men, women and transsexuals being admitted to these centres everyday. Another reason why these centres remain open, is the lack of vigilance by the Ecuadorean government, who are not strict in enforcing regulations, as well as the fact that in Ecuador a corrupt system of bribery exists. The truth is that these clinics are mainly run by ex-substance abusers themselves and in some cases doctors lend their names to give the clinics credibility. One of the reasons behind the alarming growth of these centres is monetary gain, with the average cost of treatment being $500-$800 per month for each patient. Read Article/View pictures

Share This Story
  • Print
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Facebook
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Twitter
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Add to favorites
  • email